What You Can Learn From Ruth and Boaz

I’ve been hanging out in the book of Ruth for the last five years and—just gotta say it—I’ve fallen in love with Boaz. Not because he’s handsome, wealthy, strong, or influential, but because he sounds so much like Jesus.

He’s looking at you

When Boaz first shows up in his barley field outside the walls of Bethlehem, he immediately notices Ruth, who is quietly, humbly doing her gleaning thing. So he turns to his foreman and asks, “Whose young woman is that?” (Ruth 2:5).

Oh baby. Of all the people Boaz might have looked at or commented about, he chose a lowly gleaner, and a former pagan at that. Amazing!

Flip over to the New Testament, and you find Jesus doing much the same thing at a dinner party hosted by Simon the Pharisee. Who does Jesus single out among the throng of people around him but a prostitute, the lowest of the low, who is quietly, humbly doing her foot-anointing thing. Jesus says to Simon, “Do you see this woman?” (Luke 7:44).

Again, the Lord looks beyond her shady past all the way to her servant’s heart, and praises her for her humble acts of service. Incredible!

He sees you too, beloved. While you are quietly, humbly doing your thing for God, whether it’s singing in the choir or helping in the nursery or feeding the homeless, he has his eye on you and he loves what he sees.

Whose girl are you?

Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer and our beloved Redeemer both use the same tender word of endearment—“daughter.” When he first meets Ruth, Boaz says to her, “My daughter, listen to me” (Ruth 2:8). You can hear the warmth and compassion in his voice. Not only does he acknowledge her, he cares about her welfare. Most of all, he wants her to know from the get-go they have a family connection.

Same deal in the New Testament, when Jesus says to the bleeding woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Mark 5:34). It’s the only time Jesus uses the word “Daughter,” and he reserves it for a woman who’s an outcast among her people, yet clearly considered a daughter of the King.

Of all the descriptions God uses for us in his Word—“friend,” “child,” “treasured possession”—I think “daughter” is especially dear because it’s a word reserved for women. We mattered to the Lord then, and we matter to him now. He gladly claims us as his own.

Quench your thirst

Boaz makes Ruth an unusual offer, telling her, “Whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” (Ruth 2:9) Giving people a drink in those days was not only a form of hospitality but an overture of friendship. But a wealthy land owner offering freshly drawn water to a mere gleaner? That was WAY over the top!

Our Redeemer extends to us an even more vital form of liquid refreshment in the closing lines of his Word when he says, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17). At conferences we get excited if someone hands us a free bottle of water, yet Jesus is holding out so much more—living water, eternal life. Take it, my sister, and drink it down!

P.S. The best thing about Boaz? He’s in the lineage of Christ. So are his great-great-great-great-grandmother Tamar, his mother Rahab, his wife Ruth, their future great-grandson’s wife, Bathsheba, and, ten centuries later, Mary—all the women listed in Matthew 1. That’s God’s not-so-subtle way of letting women know we truly count for the Kingdom and have a special place in his royal family.


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Liz Curtis Higgs

About Liz Curtis Higgs

Speaker and author Liz Curtis Higgs is a big fan of Logos Bible Software, and she will be among the keynoters for the Faithlife Women Conference this September in Irvine, Texas. Her latest nonfiction book and Bible study DVD, The […]

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